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Preamble ~ Although this was my umpteenth visit to Africa and 4th safari in the South Luangwa I hadn’t been to Africa since 2008. Whilst life had gotten in the way I had kept my enthusiasm for safaris reading the numerous TRs here on ST. In 2008 the safari finished in the South Luangwa and this is where this trip began. The duration of this safari was 28 days including travel which allowed for 11 nights in South Luangwa, then 15 days in the Mara (the Mara will be in a separate TR). Peter my travelling companion, is a TA with over 30 years experience travelling to Africa, (often 4 times a year!) Nepal, Antarctica and beyond so I let him handle all the arrangements. The itinerary was based on the cancelled trip when I broke my leg in 2015. It consisted of; 3 nights Kafunta River Lodge 5 nights Mwamba Bush Camp 3 nights Kaingo Camp Initially we had tried for Flatdogs camp but it was booked out during our travel timeframe so with a plethora of options in the Mfuwe area we replaced it with Kafunta River lodge mainly because of the cheaper rates. A decision I did not regret. I have stayed at Mwamba & Kaingo before and they are my favourite camps in SLNP. I won’t elaborate further on the camps chosen unless I’m asked and rather than give a day by day ~ blow by blow description I’ll just post some images and provide relevant comment. In this first post a few images of what you're likely to see. The sun rising over Lion Plain not far from Mwamba camp. What will the day bring? South Luangwa is renowned for leopard and this trip did not disappoint. A leopardess patiently waiting for her beau to finish his impala dinner that he did not share with her. Even so it did not affect their romance and we heard (rather than saw them) mating in the thickets the next morning. Replete with buffalo meat the Mwamba pride retires to the shade, whilst the adults snoozed some of the cubs watched the vultures game enough to try for scraps. The area around Lion Plain hosts a few lion prides. The two prides mainly seen are the Hollywood Pride (so named as they are so often filmed by the BBC etc) and the Mwamba Pride. Carmine Bee-eater in flight. I captured this image from Kaingo's Bee-eater hide. Basically a tin boat with a canvas blind (works a treat). If you are in SLNP from about August onwards thousands of these birds nest in the river banks. Spectacular fliers they are a beautiful sight. An elephant road block. The only sort of traffic jam I enjoy.
Please note there is an earlier review of Mwamba Bush camp by Optig which can be found here 1) Name of property and country: (Please also include name of property and country as topic title and include as tags as well) Mwamba Bush camp, SLNP, Zambia 2) Website address if known: here 3) Date of stay, including whether Green Season, Shoulder season or High season pricing (if known). September 2016, High Season 4) Length of stay: 5 Nights 5) Why did you choose this camp or lodge to stay in? Based upon what? A previous stay at this camp in 2008 6) How did you book the property, direct or agent? Were your enquiries dealt with quickly and efficiently? Via a friend who is a travel agent 7) How many times have you been on Safari? 15 Times 8) To which countries? Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe 9) Which properties have you been to previously that you are comparing this one to? None. 10) Was the camp/lodge fenced? No 11) How many rooms/tents does it have? 4 thatched grass Chalets 12) What tent or room did you stay in? Did it have a good view? Was it overlooked or private? I think chalet #1 closest to the communal dining area and bar though still private. The view from this tent looks across the small ephemeral Mwamba river. 13) How comfortably furnished was the room/tent? Very comfortable bed and adequately furnished. 14) Did you like the food? If yes, please state why. If no, please state why. Yes, excellent food. 15) Was there a varied menu offering multiple choice? If vegetarian was a suitable alternative offered? (Did you have to request this in advance?) Varied menu for brunch and dinner. 16) What is the default dining arrangement? Single tables or communal dining? Do the guides/managers host at mealtimes? Communal brunch and dinner, pre morning game drive coffee & muffin around the campfire. 17) How good were the packed breakfasts/lunches if staying out on game drives? Adequate drinks & snacks for both morning tea and sundowners 18) What are the game drive vehicles? Please include photo if possible. modified Land Cruisers 19) How many guests per row? 2 guests per row 20) How long were the game drives and were they varied in the routes taken? Varied game routes taken. Most drives were longer than 4 hours. 21) What are the standard game drive times? Are game drive times flexible: i.e., if agreed in advance, can you go out earlier than suggested and stay out later, i.e., not returning for lunch but taking supplies with you? Morning drives 6:00 - 11:00, Afternoon drives 16:00 - 20:00 but times are flexible. If something is happening you stay out longer. 22) Is this a private conservancy/concession, and what is the vehicle/lodge density like? No. The camp is inside the National Park. At least two vehicles, though I remember 3 in use on a few days to cater for smaller groups. 23) If in a National Park, what is the vehicle density in the immediate vicinity? Vehicle density can be high at times due to the sister camp Kaingo and Lion camp in the vicinity but usually this is well managed and you can find an isolated area to yourself. 24) Are you able to off-road? Yes, though the extensive road network is excellent and well graded / maintained and this allows for very smooth driving. 25) Are there rotation policies for sightings i.e., You face the risk of queuing or being bumped from a sighting. This might be an issue but was not a problem whilst I was in camp. 26) What wildlife is this property known for? Did you get good sightings? Excellent leopard sightings and big lion prides. Elephant often in camp along with a few antelope species that frequent the waterhole behind camp. 27) How was the standard of guiding? Exceptionally high standard. 28) If you had a bad experience with a guide, why? Did you report the issue to management, and if so, how did they deal with the issue? N/A 29) If you had a very good experience with your guide, please give reasons why: Excellent rapport, knowledge and enthusiasm made for stellar company and great sightings. 30) Were staff attentive to your requests/needs? Very attentive, especially the waiters. 31) Does the property support a local community conservation initiative. If so, please provide brief details and website address if known. Yes, A few community and conservation based programs. 32) Safaritalk trip report link: here 33) Any other pertinent details you wish to add: The authentic Zambian bush camp, rough and ready though with a level of comfort. Situated in a superb game viewing area known for its predator concentrations. Enjoyable hot showers in open air bathrooms after a long dusty day. The camp waterhole allows for exceptional game viewing between game drives and access to Kaingo camps Hippo and Carmine bee-eater hides can be organised. A top notch safari experience.
Mosquito posted a topic in Trip reportsmany thanks to the Safari Talk forum for help in planning an exceptional 18 day safari in Botswana and Zambia. Special shout out to Safari dude who introduced us to Benson Siyawareva who still has us laughing..what a great guy and guide who went with us to Botswana. Also always appreciate Twaffle's help as her advice has been so spot on over the years....And Fiona at Ngoko Safaris did all the arrangements superbly...not a hitch, not even one..... arrived home at about noon and started downloading the images to my computer so will have something to post shortly..... camps were Little Vumbura, Little Kwara, Lagoon, Lebala, Kaingo and Mwamba with a one night stay at Royal Livingstone as we moved from Botswana to Zambia...stayed 3 nights at all the camps except Lebala where we split 5 days between Lagoon and Lebala.... Saw every kind of game imaginable with lots of predator action and babies as well.....and who can forget a Ferrari Safari with the wild dogs? Anyway thanks again for being such a valuable resource.... Mr and Mrs Mosquito
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